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Making Home in Bordelands. Urban-Rural Mobility in the Margins of the Post-Colonial State

Call for papers
7th European Conference on African Studies (ECAS7)

(Convenor : Dr. Amalia Dragani, IMAF)

Panel C24

Short Abstract
This panel proposes to move critical focus onto topics still largely under-studied : professional mobility "à rebours" [in the opposite direction], from cosmopolitan African capitals to borderlands. How urban-rural mobility redefine social and individual identities in their relation to the State ?

Long Abstract
This panel proposes to move critical focus onto topics still largely under-studied : mobility from cosmopolitan African capitals to the margins of the States, such as rural villages and desert oases. The empirical focus of this panel will be on professional mobilities of élites and middle class (medical, military, educational and administrative personnel). It concerns also gendered and infantile mobility connected with nuptiality, commercial circulations of businessmen as well as migratory trajectories of lower social class workers, for instance the southern migrants employed in the uranium processing factories in Niger.
This panel aims at bringing together empirical studies that focus on the impacts and dynamics of the professional trajectoires, under consideration that traverse and "transform" the borderlands. We will try to question how these settlements, from their originary urban contexts to enclaved destinations, redefine social and individual identities and their relation to the State. Internal migrations can be addressed as a factor of dynamism and circulation of cosmopolitan ideas (new notions of the intimate life-space, new gender-ideals) and familiarization with regions of different history and culture, with adaptations to rural networks and sociabilities. In which ways do borderland communities perceive these urban people showing signs of ’modernizing’ practices ? We will try to investigate if the inter-State mobility, in the perception of local actors who live in conflict-affected countries, is subject to fears of resettlement, land acquisitions or "land grabbing" in so called "underused areas" in Africa.
We are particularly interested in comparative and interdisciplinary discussions across multiple cases that underline social transformations involved and the perception of the Nation-State, as well as conflictual reactions.
English and French are welcome
The call for papers is now open and closes at midnight on 19 January 2017. Before you propose a paper, please read the theme of the conference, the rules below, and then browse the list of list of panels.

All proposals must be made via the online form, not by email. There is a ’propose a paper’ link beneath the long abstract of each panel page. Go to the panel page you are interested in and then click on this proposal link to make your proposal directly to that panel/workshop.
On submission of the proposal, the proposing author (but not the co-authors) will receive an automated email confirming receipt. If you do not receive this email, please first check the Login environment - Cocoa (see toolbar above right) to see if your proposal is there. If it is, it simply means your confirmation email got spammed/lost ; if it is not, you will need to re-submit, as for some reason the process was not completed. Co-authors cannot be added/removed nor can papers be withdrawn by the proposers themselves – for that, please email
Proposals will be marked as pending until the end of the Call for papers. Convenors will then be asked to make their decisions over the papers proposed to their panel by 29 January 2017 and to communicate those to the proposers, marking them up within the login environment (Cocoa). Papers which are neither accepted nor rejected, but marked for ’transfer’, will be given the opportunity to be re-housed. We aim to resolve all transfers by the 2 March 2017.

The deadline for submission : 19 January 2017

For more information